GoBlueWolverine.com was in Shreveport, La., to catch the Max Emfinger All-American Bowl Classic on Thursday, and decided to make the short trip up to Texarkana on Friday to take in the Tigers basketball game against Atlanta, Texas High School. The Tigers fell 84-83 in a heartbreaking overtime loss to the Rabbits. Mallett had 21-points on the night.
When contacted prior to the game, Texas head coach Jim McManus reported there would be a pair of visitors that evening. "Two Michigan coaches are coming down to see Ryan play," McManus said. "They are down here a lot. Ryan is a heck of an athlete and he plays point guard for us. He's a little hobbled now because of a sore hip, but he'll still play a lot."
Recalling that Mallett is 6-7, this was certain to be a treat. Sure enough, the big man started off at the point and showed some impressive ball handling skills, including the ability to quickly dish the ball to his teammates. He also played for a bit in the paint, but it was apparent the injured hip was a factor as he tended to shy away from pounding the boards, at times staying near midcourt as the action heated underneath the bucket.
Mallett is known for his rocket arm on the football field. Some have said he has the strongest arm they have ever seen, at this or any level. However, he shows a deft touch on his hoops shooting and has a form-perfect jump shot. He is able to shoot the three, as well as softly lay the ball in on the drive.
After the game, GBW had a chance to chat with Mallett. "It's nice to see Coach Carr and Coach Loeffler here," he said. "I wish they could have seen us win." With 1.4 seconds remaining, the Tigers had the inbound but failed to get off a shot. Mallett was visibly perturbed as the buzzer sounded to end the game. "I was upset at the end of the game because we were supposed to lob the ball up and let me tip it in," he said. "Then it was changed. But it happens."
Due to NCAA rules, Mallett was unable to speak with the Michigan coaches. He did say that he is in constant contact with the staff, calling them often, but that he isn't ready to make a decision. "I'd like to get it over with early," he said. "I hear it gets pretty hectic, but it hasn't been that way for me yet. I have about 20-30 offers, but only five in writing. I know one is from Nebraska, but I can't remember the others. Coach Carr and Loeffler have said they would send a letter after Signing Day."
Coach McManus said that his star big point guard now desires to acquire the same mobility as Texas quarterback Vince Young. "He's watched him (Young) and now wants to work on his agility," McManus said, chuckling kiddingly. "He wants to be the next Vince Young."
Mallett said that he enjoyed his week at the Michigan camp, and that he is planning on making another trek to Ann Arbor this summer. He wasn't sure where else he would camp.
After the game Mallett walked out of the locker room wearing a Michigan hat.